Tourism, Culture and Recreation
October 6, 2009

Increase to Marine Atlantic Fuel Surcharge Will Hurt Province�s Tourism Efforts: Minister

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, today responded to a Marine Atlantic announcement that it is once again imposing an increase to its fuel surcharge, noting this can only be detrimental to the province�s efforts to extend its tourism season beyond the traditional peak summer months.

"The Provincial Government has invested heavily in season extension projects and a marketing campaign designed to attract more non-resident visitors to Newfoundland and Labrador during the fall," said Minister Jackman. "To have these efforts undermined by a Federal Government which refuses to adequately fund the Marine Atlantic gulf ferry service � a constitutionally guaranteed and essential transportation link between the island portion of the province and mainland Canada � is unjustified and unnecessary."

Minister Jackman noted the quarterly adjustment in the Marine Atlantic fuel surcharge � which as of October 26 will increase by 7.8 per cent to a total of 13.8 per cent � creates an environment of uncertainty for travellers wishing to visit Newfoundland and Labrador.

"It is particularly frustrating, given that our most recent tourism performance statistics indicate Newfoundland and Labrador has bucked a national and international trend, and is reporting a 1.5 per cent increase in non-resident visitation this year, despite the global recession," said Minister Jackman. "While we have had very positive interaction with Marine Atlantic management on issues of customer service, and with the Federal Government on the issue of fleet renewal, Transport Canada�s insistence on imposing a fuel surcharge on its customers � both commercial and non-commercial � is hurting this province�s economy and its people."

The Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Business, said the Provincial Government and other partners are working to enhance transportation access to and from Newfoundland and Labrador, and to promote the province as a business-friendly location in which to invest.

"Moves like this that hike the cost of using our federal ferry service run completely counter to our efforts," said Minister Wiseman. "Fuel surcharges for this essential mode of transportation place an undue strain on direct users, as well as suppliers and businesses that depend on the gulf ferry to ship their goods on to and off of the island. The increased costs and unpredictability of these surcharges continue to harm the ones who rely most on Marine Atlantic."

As a result of this latest surcharge, Marine Atlantic rates for the Port aux Basques service (one way) will rise by $2.24 for adult passengers and by $6.36 for vehicles compared to rates for July 2009. Rates on the Argentia service (one way) will increase by $6.28 for adult passengers and by $13.04 for vehicles, compared to July 2009.  Buses will have to pay an additional $16.73 on the Port aux Basques service (one way) and $34.22 on the Argentia service (one way), compared to July 2009.

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Media contacts:

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 697-5061
Mark King
Director of Communications
Department of Business
709-729-7628, 699-3454

2009 10 06                                                    11:00 a.m.

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